Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

“He has achieved impact in a way that not too many get to do in their lifetime. ”

© Steve Tracy and CMHF
2018 Inductee

Vladimir Hachinski, MD

August 13, 1941 (Zhytomyr, Ukraine)
MD, University of Toronto (1966)
Dr. Vladimir Hachinski is a world-renowned neurologist, a foremost authority in the field of stroke, dementia and Alzheimer’s research and an international leader in the joint prevention of stroke and dementia. Prior to the 1970’s, stroke was untreatable. Together with John W. Norris, Dr. Hachinski, pioneered acute stroke units, now the standard of care yielding the best outcomes for stroke patients of all ages, severities and kinds. At least half of all strokes are preventable, yet only one in four people knows a single risk factor for stroke. Dr. Hachinksi co-authored a book with his daughter Larissa Hachinski educating people to recognize the warning signs of stroke and to seek immediate help to reduce the risk of long-term damage. He coined the term “brain attack” for stroke and stroke warnings to emphasize urgency in dealing with stroke symptoms.

Some of our most important advances in understanding cerebrovascular diseases and their treatment are discoveries of Dr. Hachinski and his colleagues, including identification of a link between Alzheimer’s and stroke with David Cechetto and Shawn Whitehead, and the brain’s insula role in sudden death, along with a host of new concepts captured in his new terminology: multi-infarct dementia, leukoaraiosis, vascular cognitive impairment, and brain at risk stage. The eponymic Hachinski Ischemic Score (HIS) is now a standard means for identifying the treatable components of dementia.

Dr. Hachinski, Distinguished University Professor of Neurology and past Richard and Beryl Ivey Chair of the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, Western University, London, Ontario, has authored, co-authored, or co-edited 17 books and more than 800 frequently-cited scientific publications. He served as Editor-in-Chief for a decade of STROKE, the top journal in the field. He led the adoption of a proclamation on behalf of the World Stroke Organization and all major international brain organizations aimed at uniting stroke and dementia communities in their joint prevention of stroke and potentially preventable dementias.  He introduced a World Stroke Day and a World Brain Day with Mohammad Wasay.

Dr. Hachinksi served as first Canadian President of the World Federation of Neurology and Founding Chair of the International Society of Behavioral and Cognitive Disorders and of the World Brain Alliance.  He has been a Visiting Fellow, Florey Neurosciences Institute in Australia and Brain Visiting Scholar at Oxford, Cambridge and London Universities.  The scope of his reputation and work has been worldwide.

He has transformed the understanding, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the two greatest threats to the brain: stroke and dementia. For generations to come, the promise of longer life may also be a promise of better life thanks to his ground-breaking discoveries.  

Listen | CMHF Excellence in Medicine Podcast Series: Valdimir Hachinski, MD 

American Academy of Neurology: 2020 Robert Wartenberg Lecture | Deliverd by Vladimir Hachinski, MD